Shitty Movie Sundays: Cyborg X, or, Press the Damn Button Already!

This shitty flick is a bit of a throwback. If it had not been for the bargain basement CGI, this flick could be mistaken by the shitty movie fan for something from the 1980s or the early 1990s. It has that feel.

From writer/director Kevin King, Cyborg X takes place in the aftermath of a war in which a sentient AI has wiped out most of the people on the planet. Think the Terminator movies, if all the scenes took place in the future and there was none of that time travel nonsense. In fact, this movie lives and dies on the ideas that it ripped from James Cameron, and that’s just fine. The first shot of this film is of such low-quality CGI that it lets the viewer know to dismiss any positive expectations they might have had. Who cares if the rest of it is a ripoff? Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Cyborg X, or, Press the Damn Button Already!”

Stallone Month: Lock Up

Lock Up is a strange lesson in how Hollywood movies are made…[W]e have a star, a theme, a shooting date, a budget, a studio, but…no script.” — John Flynn, director of Lock Up

I don’t know how often films are made on the fly, but in putting together Stallone Month, it seems that it was common for projects Sly worked on to barely make it to completion. Another commonality in these films is that Sly worked very hard to keep the projects together. Whether it’s Eye See You (later this month), or Tango & Cash (tomorrow), or today’s film, the people who worked with Sly are effusive in praising him for the efforts he made to make sure a movie came off. Still, production troubles rarely bode well for a film. Continue readingStallone Month: Lock Up”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Death Wish 4: The Crackdown

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions pictures what life is like in American cities, I think he might be picturing the world of Death Wish 4: The Crackdown. From 1987, this movie plays as both nightmare and caricature of urban America in the 1980s. It’s a place where anyone, at any time, can be the victim of a brutal crime. It’s a good thing that Charles Bronson was still alive and kicking at the time, otherwise none of us would have made it out of that decade alive. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Death Wish 4: The Crackdown”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Bad Ass

A viewer can tell what writer/director Craig Moss was trying to accomplish with Bad Ass, but the execution just wasn’t there. Inspired by the Epic Beard Man viral video, so much so that one of the production companies for this flick is listed as Amber Lamps, LLC, Bad Ass follows Danny Trejo as Frank Vega, a down on his luck Vietnam vet who kicks the shit out of a couple of skinheads on a Los Angeles bus. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Bad Ass”

Shitty Movie Sundays: xXx

Finally, a film for the energy drink generation.

What a putrid mess. In truth, the only reason I watched xXx at all is because I noticed that there were no films under ‘X’ in the Empty Balcony database. Every other letter in the English alphabet is represented, but in the many years I’ve been pounding out these reviews I’ve never once reviewed a film whose title began with the letter X. Now that I’ve seen xXx, I never have to watch it again. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: xXx”

October Horrorshow: Predators

PredatorsIt seems that, for this year’s Horrorshow, I can’t get enough of the Alien and Predator franchises. Maybe I should slow down. It’s not like these things grow on trees. Aliens and predators are a finite resource.

Predators, from 2010, is the first standalone Predator flick since Predator 2 in 1990. In between were the two Alien vs. Predator movies, but I have a hard time fathoming how the flagship title was dormant for so long. There weren’t even any straight to video entries or bad SyFy productions. The predators are excellent horror/sci-fi antagonists. In the right circumstances, they can even be the good guys.

The predators look mean, what with their large stature and menacing mask, and that’s before viewers see the horrible countenance hidden therein. The fact they are aliens who traveled here from the stars just to hunt us is unsettling. We’re supposed to be the top of the food chain. Check that. The predators aren’t here for food. They’re hunting us for sport. That’s an upsetting of the current order that is hard to contemplate outside the realm of fiction. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Predators”

October Horrorshow: Anaconda

What a gloriously stupid movie. It makes me happy to write that sentence again; something I have not done since way back in May. But, this flick deserves it. If I had not already named another film the official film of this year’s Horrorshow (revealed at a later date), then Anaconda would have won the distinction running away. Anaconda is a fantastic example of the heights to which a shitty movie can soar. It features a soon to be breakout superstar, a fading has-been whose Oscar is gathering substantial amounts of dust, and a rapper in the midst of crossing over into movie stardom. It hails from a time when CGI was in its infancy, yet relies on these effects too much. It’s self-aware and amateurish at the same time. It’s a piece of shit, and I love it. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Anaconda”

The Empty Balcony: Runaway Train

1985’s Runaway Train is a very unique film. It’s American made, filmed in the white wastes of Alaska, but in a blind taste test, cinephiles would swear it was a Russian film. The film stock, the cinematography, set designs, costumes, etc., all scream that the film was made on the other side of the Iron Curtain. That’s not by design, but a result of the film being helmed by Andrei Konchalovsky, who, until the 1980s, was a Soviet filmmaker. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Runaway Train”

October Horrorshow: From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money

Listen closely at night and you should be able to hear the sound of the flapping of leathery wings. It’s October, when vampires in Chiroptera guise search for blood. And why not? October is the month of Halloween, and Missile Test is celebrating by reviewing horror films all month. It doesn’t matter if a film is good, bad, or so awful it would be better if all copies were burnt. If there’s blood, it gets a fair hearing. Today’s movie is a real dog born from a recent classic. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money”

October Horrorshow: From Dusk Till Dawn, or, a Tale of Two Movies

From Dusk Till DawnOctober has come again. It being the month of Halloween, we at Missile Test choose to celebrate by watching and reviewing horror films. Ah, blood. There just can’t be enough in October. Today’s selection has plenty of it, even though it’s mostly green. But what the hell, it’s all in fun.

Quentin Tarantino was riding high after the success of Pulp Fiction, a film that had a strong case for winning Best Picture at the Oscars the year it came out. Was it Tarantino’s youth which kept his opus from taking home the top prize? Who knows? Some of the competition were no slouches in their own right, but none broke any new ground, nor did they spawn a whole genre of imitations that crop up in cinema to this day (just like Alien and all its clones). And the winner that year, Forrest Gump, felt like little more than the Baby Boomers trying to justify their actions in retrospect by infusing their youths with blandness and innocence, when naiveté (with a sharp edge, at least) would have been a more apt description. This trivializes the profound role they played in turning public opinion against the war in Vietnam, but their role was not nearly as important as that played by the news media who brought home the images of war to the American public. The youth had always been suspicious, and were never onboard with the war policy from the beginning, but every other demographic in America couldn’t have given two shits if we had been winning the war instead of losing it. Anyway, I honestly can’t tell if that film was an apology to their parents or an apology to the directionless void of malaise left behind by their sudden thrust into real adulthood that was then passed on to their slacker Gen X children. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: From Dusk Till Dawn, or, a Tale of Two Movies”